Thursday, December 26, 2013

Some articles to read ...

Why are Germans wedded to ordoliberalism? Stephen Alamowitch provides an answer in Contrelignes.

In the same issue of Contrelignes, there is an interesting comparison of the US Democratic Party and the French PS by Jean-Claude Pacitto:
On a beaucoup reproché à Clinton l’abrogation du Glass-Steagall Act en 1999 et donc de la séparation des activités bancaires, ce qui a incontestablement favorisé ce qu’il convient d’appeler la financiarisation de l’économie. Oublie-t-on que la gauche française l’avait fait dès 1984 et que c’est sous le ministère Bérégovoy que cette financiarisation de l’économie atteindra son paroxysme. De la même façon, si Clinton a beaucoup œuvré pour la ratification de l’Alena, les socialistes ont milité pour l’immersion de la France dans une Europe dont ils ne pouvaient ignorer qu’elle était très largement le produit d’une matrice libérale37
Pourtant, et au-delà d’une remise en cause minimaliste, les socialistes n’ont jamais vraiment théorisé à partir de ces expériences leur nouvelle vision de l’économie. Leur condamnation quasi-unanime du social-libéralisme est pourtant assez contradictoire avec les politiques qu’ils ont effectivement menées. Dire que l’on est devenu réaliste ou moderniste n’a aucun sens si l’on ne s’assigne pas des objectifs précis, un « cap » dirait-on aujourd’hui. Il a été fait beaucoup grief à Lionel Jospin d’avoir révélé en 2002 que son « projet » n’était pas socialiste. On s’est beaucoup moins posé la question sur le fait de savoir si sa politique l’avait été ! La réponse à cette question aurait conduit les socialistes à mieux définir les contours d’une politique économique de facture socialiste au-delà des incantations verbales et des inventions conceptuelles sans consistance.

And finally, in European Ideas, is my own piece on the populist backlash in France.

1 comment:

FrédéricLN said...

Congratulations for your paper in European Ideas!

The remark "it is one of the ironies of history that the consensus politics that prevailed in the US in the 1950s established itself in France after the end of the Cold War, while the US now finds itself riven by insuperable ideological cleavages of the sort that once plagued France," may be very deep indeed.

I agree with your understanding of the position and potential of Ms Le Pen and her Front National. I'm not sure whether "values" (in the meaning of moral or conservative values) still have a specific place in the FN voter's mindset. I pleaded actually, on this very blog, that there was some "moral majority" thing in the support to FN; but I would refine that — moral majority in the French aristocratic meaning of moral concerns: we are right, aliens are only sure to be right insofar they agree with us; self-indulgence is an intrinsic part of this kind of moral mindset. So, yes, values are part of the FN spectrum, but not self-critical or self-demanding values, rather the assertion of collective habits, as being of value.

I'm still quite skeptical about the true weight of European policies to the French voter and political debate. Yes, I can hear about Ms Merkel. But is she considered guilty for unemployment in France? If so, it would be because of the low-wage jobs in Germany, understood as unfair competition; not because of the so-called austerity she would force European States to enforce. That's Mr Mélenchon's way of speaking, and I think his way of speaking is presently disconnected from the people's concerns.

And after all, all French know that wages are higher in Germany than in France (cars are larger and more expensive…); that unemployment is lower; that public budgets are run more seriously; that nuclear plants are closing; that German industrial products are exported all over the world; that Germany is once again governed by a right+left coalition government, that we never had since 1958.

So, I think most people in France would be jealous of the German government, rather than angry against it. "Why can't we have as rock-solid Administration leaders as the German do", that might be a reason to vote FN after all, just as a way to dismiss this "classe politique" that you describe as including (as it does) the big business, the political journalists, the masons and religious leaders, the "TV experts", all these who see and explain the country is on a wrong road, and who do nothing to stop it.

The good side of it: if people see a De Gaulle, they may trust him. The bad side: maybe the person will not be a De Gaulle after all, and maybe he or she doesn't exist, or hasn't the right kind of friends to make a coup as in 1958.

Well, happy holidays!